Global confidence in US president has plunged since Obama left office

Results from a new Pew Research Center survey released Monday shows that public “confidence” in the U.S. president globally has declined by more than 40 percentage points since Donald Trump assumed the White House in January, compared to the end of Barack Obama’s administration.

Polling a total of over 40,000 people in nearly 40 countries on all six populated continents from February–May, Pew found Western Europeans and South Koreans have lost the most belief that America’s chief executive will “do the right thing regarding world affairs”.

Only two nations have increased confidence in the U.S. president since Trump was elected, with a whopping 42 percent more Russians and seven percent more Israelis believing in the New York businessman compared to Obama.

Going back to the George W. Bush-era, Russians have more confidence in Donald Trump than the either the 43rd or 44th U.S. president, while Western Europeans have slightly less trust in the current office-holder than the last Republican who occupied the White House.

Trump's ratings in Western Europe similar to those for Bush in 2008

Specifically, Germans and Swedes have lost the most faith in the U.S. president since Obama left office, with a “confidence” differential in those two countries of at least −75 percent from 2016–’17.

America’s neighbors have also suffered a substantial loss of confidence in the U.S. executive, as 61 percent fewer Canadians and 44 percent less Mexicans trust President Trump compared to Obama at the end of his White House tenure.

Perhaps most embarrassingly for the U.S., Pew found President Trump ranks last among three other world leaders in terms of “confidence . . . to do the right thing regarding world affairs”, among survey respondents. German Chancellor Angela Merkel came in first with a confidence differential of +11 percent, followed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, both with negative scores in the high 20’s–low 30’s percent range. 

Overall, of the 852–2,464 respondents in each of the 37 countries surveyed, only 22 percent expressed belief in Trump’s international leadership, while 74 percent said they have no confidence in the U.S. president in that regard.

The latest data collected by Pew for each of those same 37 nations from 2014–’16 shows that Barack Obama had a “global confidence” score of +41 percent, with over 60 percent of respondents expressing a positive belief that the 44th president would handle international issues the right way.


[Pew Research Center]